Framing and Legitimating EU Legal Regulation of Human Gene-Editing Technologies: Key Facets and Functions of an Imaginary

Aurélie Mahalatchimy, Pin Lean Lau, Phoebe Li, Mark L Flear

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Abstract

Gene-editing technologies, ie those able to make changes in the DNA of an organism, are the object of global competition and a regulatory race between countries and regions. There is an attempt to craft legal frameworks protective enough for users, but flexible enough for developers of gene-editing technologies. This article examines the imaginary built into the framing of EU-level legal regulation of human gene-editing technologies and identifies its three key related facets: the tension around naturalness; safeguarding morality and ethics; and the pursuit of medical objectives for the protection of human health. Concerns around the use of gene-editing technologies in relation to eugenics and human enhancement have produced a multi-faceted imaginary. We argue that this imaginary not only places a limit on EU-level regulation, despite a strong EU competence in respect of the internal market, but also seeks to ensure its legitimation.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages30
JournalJournal of Law and the Biosciences
Volume8
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 16 Aug 2021

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